Khelo India Fuels Kerala Gold Medalist’s Long-Jump Dream
It was a typically busy but fulfilling day for Kerala’s Ancy Sojan, at the Khelo India Youth Games on Sunday, 12 January morning.
It began with the 18-year-old fine tuning her leaps in the long jump pit; it ended with her breaking the Games’ record and winning the Under-21 Girls gold medal. But the real fun was in between, when she quietly sneaked away to take part in the 100m heats.
Ancy timed it to perfection, getting away after her fourth jump but returning in time to take her fifth. Needless to say, she won the 100m heats too and has made it to the finals.
In her second leap itself, she cleared a record-breaking 6.36m, almost assuring herself of the gold.
Of course, the Thrissur lass couldn’t slack off as the earlier record-holder, Tamil Nadu's Sherin A, was also in the fray. Sherin, who had jumped 6.15m last year to own the mark, came up with a gallant fight; she had to settle for the silver though, as she could only manage a best of 6.30m.
Not too surprisingly, the multi-event competitor has been inspired by the record-breaking feats of none other than Usain Bolt.
“Like him, I am not looking only at the Olympics; I want to perform everywhere I go and become a renowned athlete in the world," she added.
Incidentally, Ancy's father Sojan too was a passionate athlete during his childhood. He competed and won in long jump, high jump, triple jump and 100m events; but he couldn't make much headway because he didn't get the support that he needed.
An auto-rickshaw driver now, Sojan knew early in his life that he couldn’t afford to dream about sport.
"In our family, almost all of us were good in sports. But we didn't have decent coaches around and some of us had to get down to earning a livelihood too. I didn’t want my children to go that way and made sure that they got good coaching,” Sojan explained.
Incidentally, Ancy's coach Kannan VV, is also an auto driver.
Ancy's family finds it difficult to provide sporting equipment to her; but they somehow manage to provide her the basic things, thanks to the Khelo India initiatives and some help from their friends.
"It's difficult to purchase equipment for Ancy since we have limited means. But, we have received help from Khelo India and some of my friends pitch in as well," Sojan revealed.
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